The Moonball Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fear and Loathing at the NBA City - Opening night

I was at the Wolves rehearsal last night, getting ready for the big opener tonight. You know -- the music goes, the video rolls, and the dancers run out and the explosions happen right on cue...that shit takes practice. But it's mostly a lot of sitting around waiting, while Crunch prowls around without his wolf-suit on, and people talk to each other on headsets.

Meanwhile, Mike Miller is going through his shooting drills - 10 makes from every one of his spots. And that whole "good work ethic", "good locker room guy" thing is actually working out. As soon as he finishes, Corey Brewer does the full drill. (Granted, it takes a little longer...but Corey can actually knock down some shots. How quickly that translates to a game situation is anybody's guess.) After Corey, Kevin Love comes out to do the same drill, with assistant coach JB Bickerstaff helping him make adjustments, and Love talking back.

After the Hoop Troop finished practicing their trampoline dunks, we all got to leave. So I roll over to the NBA City to watch the end of the Celtics/Cavs game and check out the Blazers/Lakers. The place is nearly empty except for a couple folks up at the bar. So I take a spot next to Al Jefferson. He is making the moves on a young lady to his right, so my dream of watching a game with Big Al and getting the scoop on how good Tony Allen is remains unfulfilled. But he did give a big hoot when Leon Powe got way above the rim for a huge dunk in the 4th quarter.

Instead, I'm joined by a quality Laker fan who has big ass diamonds in his ears, but needs 50 cents for the bus and drinks water all night. So maybe he is a Faker, at least as far as the diamonds go. I feed him some pizza, and he tells me all his insider NBA information about how MJ smokes blunts on the golf course, and Pippen gets in fights with everybody. As the Lakers begin their early run, the Faker starts using some of his pet names for the Lakers. Vujacic was "Sasha Vagina" and Lamar Odom was, of course, "Scrotum." The Faker revered Kobe Bryant, but confided that he has a nickname for him that he only uses when he gets really, really mad. "What's that?" I ask. He looks around, I think to make sure no other Laker fans are listening. "Rapist," he whispers.

By 11pm I decide to get out of there. It's halftime and the Blazers are down by 20. Given the way it's gone so far, I don't much feel like discussing the first half or hearing the Faker's pet names for the Laker Girls. As I put on my jacket and walk quickly for the bus, Al Jefferson orders another pair of NBA City Hurricanes for himself and his lady friend.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Still Good

Post Draft Reflections

Nice extensive draft all! I like the picks, I like the teams.

Here is the draft spreadsheet

Here is the full-on draft transcript for your fond memories.

A good season lies ahead!

Friday, October 24, 2008


This gives me irrational exuberance:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The more things change...

Change is slow. (Unless you’re the Celtics, the Tampa Bay Rays, and hopefully the Obama presidency…) Usually, it takes a long time to change a culture when most of the pieces are the same. After a bunch of offseason moves, I was hoping to see the Timberwolves defy the odds and turn the corner quickly. Like, if somehow Mike Miller's long-range threat could open up the offense for Big Al (and Stiffs #1, #2 and #3) down low, and Corey Brewer and Bassy could improve their shooting, and Kevin Love can prove worthy of a top pick and show that he’s for real, why….the Wolves could at least get close enough to sniff the playoffs with their super strong canine noses.

So it was that after going 5-1 on the road to start the preseason, the Wolves returned to Target Center last night for a pre-season tilt vs. Chicago. They were met with weak applause from an anemic crowd, and I was reminded that the road will be long yet.

Maybe it was the 20 point deficit they created going down 29-9 in the first quarter. When the shots aren’t falling, it eats away at your soul. Corey Brewer has actually shot about 50 percent in the preseason, and you could see the gears turning as he chucked a couple shots early, “I’m gonna show this home crowd that things will be different this year.” CLANK! “I really practiced hard.” CLANK! All of a sudden the same Corey Brewer was back, and the Target Center was back in his head. During the next half-court set, he was wide open on the baseline off a pass from Miller, and he deferred to Foye. As Brewer moved the ball, Miller hissed, “Shoot that!” But it was too late. Brewer went 1-7 on the evening.

Miller himself was 0-3 to start the game, and he even missed a technical free throw. So obviously the shots weren’t falling, and the Wolves finished at 32% from the field. The rotation is also far from being set, and the Wolves used rookie Love and Rashad McCants more off the bench than the capable Ryan Gomes, who barely played. I’m guessing that’s a preseason rotation thing, and we’ll see more of Gomes vs. Milwaukee tonight.

The biggest downer of the evening was the abysmal play of Kevin Love, who is not ready to help yet. Not even close. While Noah floated above him as though riding an Ark, Love was lost. And Gooden was plenty for Love to handle. The Wolves rook went an ugly 1-10 from the field, and his hops were always 6 inches shorter than everyone else.

What a difference 4 draft picks make -- the Bulls #1 Derrick Rose was awesome right out of the box. He was man-sized standing next to boy Foye, and he moved the ball and athletically created his own shots, jumping for steals and rebounds like someone who seriously has something to prove. I am very bad at figuring out how someone’s college game will translate to the NBA, so I don’t even try….leaving me to (gulp!) trust management to pick the right guys. I wasn’t sure how Rose’s game would be. But I am telling you now, he is already right at home, and he is going to be awesome. And he might be able to get crucial playing time right away in a crowded Bulls backcourt -- Larry Hughes was having a good game, but went down in the 3rd quarter with a dislocated shoulder, and was ushered off the court. He walked right past me, and that was one nasty thing sticking way out his right shoulder. It looked like it was going to pop right through his skin. Ouch! That’s why Larry Hughes makes Larry Hughes money, I guess.

Anyway, I'll probably get a little more context after watching tonight's Wolves game against the Bucks. But so far it seems the Wolves' offseason moves should be seen as baby steps, not leaps or bounds.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Reinsdorf 1, Gordon 0

If anyone ever offers you $50 million over 5 years, TAKE IT!